As you start to research colleges, and find ones that interest you, it is tempting to hop on a plane and go visit. However, it is not always so easy to find the time to get away (with those busy school and extracurricular activities) and of course, cost is a major factor. With the students I work with in Colorado – who look at colleges across the country – I explain that while nothing replaces an in person campus visit when it comes to deciding on which colleges to apply to, and attend, in some cases you need to turn to your online resources.
Virtual tours are a great way to scope out a school before you head out for a visit. After doing some review of virtual tours I was particularly impressed by my alma mater Colgate University’s virtual tour . Powered by You Visit , a popular producer of college virtual tours,I almost felt like I was back on campus! Although these virtual tours differ across colleges, you can typically find pictures or a video of the campus, descriptions of buildings and campus locations, and sometimes conversations with students, faculty or admissions representatives. These will help give you an initial glimpse into the physical nature of the campus, the location, as well the ability to hear from select campus representatives.
Many colleges have virtual tours right on their own websites. You can typically find these by going to the admissions section of the college’s website and then the visit section or “virtual tour”. In other cases, you may want to turn to some websites that specialize in virtual tours. For example, one of my favorites is http://www.youniversitytv.com/ where you get to go on a virtual walk through campus with some “tour guides” in a short video. This gives you a quick glimpse of what campus looks like.
So, as you are starting to build your college list and conducting college research, don’t forget about this important resource. Again, the actual campus visit is crucial in making a decision, and getting the full picture of a college, but virtual tours can sometimes help at the start of the process to give you a better feel than just reading words on a website.